T-Mobile, Huawei, test self organising LTE network

Austrian carrier T-Mobile and Chinese equipment vendor Huawei said Tuesday they had completed testing of what they claim is the world’s first LTE self organising network (SON).

The tests were carried out in Innsbruck, Austria, and demonstrated the technology’s ability to configure and optimise the network and recover automatically. As a result, Huawei claims an LTE-based SON deployment will offer operators operational cost savings associated with network planning, network deployment and network optimisation.

As network topology changes to an all IP infrastructure with migration to LTE, a SON deployment claims to ensure a high level of connectivity and optimisation of performance network wide.

The Austrian tests used T-Mobile’s existing base stations and were conducted to verify Automatic Neighbour Relation (ANR) functionality, and how the SON platform is able to automatically establish and optimise neighbour relations.

Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile unveiled what it claims is the world’s first multi-user LTE test network “with mobility” in July, 2009. Austria is at the leading edge of European mobile data usage, with market leader Mobilkom Austria deriving one third of its revenues from mobile broadband services. T-Mobile claimed its deployment, which uses the carrier’s 3G network as an infrastructure base, is the largest test network in Europe, spanning 60 cells.

It’s been a busy summer for the LTE crowd, with the technology gaining some considerable traction among early adopters in Europe, Japan and the US, and all eyes on 2010 as the year Long Term Evolution goes commercial.

Yet experts warn that mobile operators around the world face very different challenges in embracing LTE, mainly in the levels of finance they need to raise. Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, also recently advised that the effects of the global downturn have boosted HSPA+ deployments but slowed LTE.

Roberts said that virtually all major mobile operators vocal in their support of LTE have also quietly admitted that the downturn and other factors have delayed their LTE rollout schedules by several years. “WCDMA/HSPA operators are now focusing more on HSPA+ upgrades, which will bring major improvements in capacity and data speeds, at a much lower cost than deploying LTE,” Roberts says.

Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts that by the end of 2013 3GPP systems will account for 72 per cent of global mobile broadband subscribers, 3GPP2 systems for 22 per cent and WiMAX 6 per cent.

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